Musicians & Social Media: Who Makes the Grade?

Taylor Vick and I are at the University of Miami where Taylor, a UM alumnus, moderated and I sat on a panel Saturday at the MEIEA (Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association) Conference. It was a gorgeous sunny 80 degrees, and I wondered (while laying on the lawn outside the Frost School of Music after our panel) how any UM students get any work done. This campus is more like a resort than an institution of higher learning. I grabbed my venti skinny caramel iced latte that I bought at the on-campus Starbucks, and watched students sunbathing while a light mist that blew from the fountain in the center of the lake cooled me. I heard one of the student guides, while he escorted a UM hopeful and her parents around “Yeah, we have every sport you can think of here…even sand volleyball.”

But, I digress, which is easy to do in this weather. Our topic was advanced social media strategies as they pertain to musicians and music businesses, and several interesting points came up during our discussion, which you’ll see in a couple posts from me and TV.

One of the questions asked was which musicians did we think were using social media well. The panel, which included Fran Vincent of Retro Island Productions, Tony Grotticelli of TOGA Entertainment, Katherine Stimson of Suman Entertainment and Bennett Law Office, Taylor and myself, while offering up different examples seemed to agree on a few key criteria —
1. Authenticity
2. Engagement
3. Just Doing It (Aka: Risk & Experimentation)
While we agreed that Lady Gaga owned YouTube (you can’t swing a cat without hitting one of her videos), we also agreed that she wasn’t very engaged with her audience. OK Go! are successful because of their incredibly creative and original viral-on-steroids videos that have led to a big community of fans and followers who are championing the band just waiting to see what they’ll come up with next.

Tony mentioned Run DMC’s Rev Run who has an honest extension of his reality show brand in his @RevRunWisdom Twitter feed. He broadcasts rather than converses, but his use of the platform is original and certainly makes my day a lot.

Disappointments by celebs who were at the forefront of social media, but who have disengaged (Miley Cyrus) or have not used SM to its best potential to help in crisis management (John Mayer) were mentioned, as well. Our hope is that other celebs learn, improve and stay engaged with fans.
Last, but not least, Ben Folds brings home the recent honors of ballsiest user of SM by engaging his live concert fans with the ever-growing in popularity of Chatroulette. His piano improvisations of the people he “nexted” on the site take the trophy for risk vs. risque experiment.
Which musicians, artists, bands, etc. do you think are using social media well? Who is missing the point in your opinion?

This entry was posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 2:22 pm and is filed under MEIEA, music and social media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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